COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 3 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team closed out its 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships with a third-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay. The Razorbacks finished the meet with 10 team points, good for a tie at 22nd place. In addition to the points gathered in the meet’s final event, Arkansas had four points from Tarik Batchelor’s finish in the long jump Friday.
"We’re obviously disappointed," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "This is not where we thought we’d finish. We thought we had a shot at a podium spot but we’ll be back. We’re a really talented team and we were just off this weekend but there’s no doubt that we will put it together. We’re going to battle back and fight heading into the outdoor season. There are a lot of good things to look forward to."
The Razorbacks capped their weekend with a bronze performance in the 4×400-meter relay. Running in the final heat of the timed final, the quartet of Ben Skidmore, Marek Niit, Chris Bilbrew and Neil Braddy combined for a time of 3:06.79. Arkansas’ performance in the 4×400-meter relay represents the program’s fifth top-eight finish in the event, and its highest since the 1987 crew ran to a second-place finish in the event.
"That last race means a lot because it means our kids, collectively, didn’t give up," Bucknam said. "They ran their hearts out and did a great job. So the weekend ends on a good note for us."
Kevin Lazas began day two of the heptathlon with a personal-best effort in the 60-meter hurdles. Running in the second of five heats, he clocked a time of 8.59 (839 points), surpassing his previous best of 8.68 run at the SEC Championships in February. The Razorback freshman went on to clear 15-9 (849) during the pole vault and entered the final event tied for 11th place. Lazas closed out his NCAA Championships debut with a 2:49.54 (770) in the 1,000 meters.
During the course of two days and seven events, Lazas posted two personal bests with his efforts in the shot put (43-7) and 60-meter hurdles. He finished the heptathlon with 5,596 points and a 14th-place result. Lazas was one of three freshmen in the national field.
Competing in the final of the men’s mile, Duncan Phillips finished 10th overall. He crossed in a time of 4:06.37. In the only field event of the day for the Razorbacks, Tarik Batchelor also had a 10th-place result with a day’s best mark of 52-2.25 in the triple jump. Batchelor finished fifth in Friday’s long jump competition.
SEC champ Florida won the 2011 national team title with 52 points. Host team Texas A&M finished second with 40 points while BYU came in third with 34 points. LSU and Florida State rounded out the top five with 31 and 30 points, respectively. A crowd of 4,487 fill the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on day two of the NCAA Championships.
With a new All-America policy in place, the official list of national accolades will be released no later than Monday by the USTFCCCA. Beginning with the 2011 track and field seasons, All-America honors will be assigned into first and second teams for all events, individual and relays.
With the completion of the indoor campaign, the Razorbacks will now transition into the outdoor season which begins the weekend of March 25. Arkansas will split its squads between a triangle meet in Austin including Texas and UCLA and the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: NCAA results, complete.pdf